Zoom Systems – Profile
HQ: San Francisco, orginally in Australia
Management: Aussie co-founders Gower Smith and Mike Gill raised $20M by July 2000 and ceded control to a new CEO. In 2002 when the venture was fast on growth and slow on profits, Smith and Gill returned and made a successful bid to retake the company. Since then they have slashed the head-count and raised a new round of financing.
Investors: Management team bought-out company, reincorporated, and invested seed capital. Zoom raised $6.3M in October 2004 from Sierra Ventures (Lead), and individuals.
Business Model: Operates networked, super-vending machines with touch-screens and higher-end merchandise than typical soda and gum machines, such as electronics, toiletries, and tourist merchandize. Targets include hotels, airports, rental car offices and colleges where vending is expected but staffing 24/7 can be cost innefficient. Company projects it will have 6000 locations earning upwards of $60M by the end of 2008.
Competitors: A number of companies are working on making vending machines more high-tech, including: USA Technologies, Isochron Data Corp., and Marconi Online.
Dirt: Machines are snazzy. Zoom thumps its chest over patents and technology sophistication but those seem less relevant than inpatient execution. And haven’t certain companies been doing this for years over in Japan, selling soiled undies and the like to lecherous businessmen?